December 30, 2019

Verbalizing What You Each Want Out of Your Campaign

This week’s #GMAdvice post is all about the process, prior to beginning a TTRPG campaign, of each member of the table verbalizing what you each want out of the story you’re going to be playing.

In your pre-session, this act of stating what your hopes, wants, and/or goals for the story are in front of your fellow players & GM may seem simple but it’s incredibly effective. Some players have very concrete ideas about what they want – i.e. “I want to be king!” or “I want to fall in love” or perhaps “I want to get my revenge” – whereas others may want more combat or more role playing or simply just a chill and relaxed time. The GM too likely has a vision for the story – i.e. “I’d love to have you all experience the main campaign I have in mind” and/or “I’d like for you all to live in this world with me” – that should have equal weight to the players.

So one by one, go around the table and just say what you’re hoping to get our of the story, what you’re hoping to experience. By so doing, you’re not guaranteeing the specific hope/goal will take place; rather, you’re guaranteeing that your fellow TTRPG-ers are aware of your wants & needs (and vice-versa). And that awareness is hugely important because it will impact story design and player choices. It allows for the GM & and players to be on the same page much more quickly as the story progresses. And further, it allows for better player chemistry because it clears up the motives for each of the players.

Having clarity on the central gravity that drives each person at the table’s decision-making goes a long, long way to reducing downstream friction as the story unfolds and positively promotes teamwork and balanced decision-making among the players. I cannot recommend highly enough this simple “expectation setting” process during your campaign’s pre-session – you’ll be glad you did!